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Local stores rule festive shopping

The economy has changed. Youngsters dress differently. High-tech mobile phones are getting common even for rickshaw pullers, while overseas holidays are a part of many middle-class lifestyles.

business Updated: Oct 15, 2010 21:37 IST
Rachit Vats

The economy has changed. Youngsters dress differently. High-tech mobile phones are getting common even for rickshaw pullers, while overseas holidays are a part of many middle-class lifestyles.

But one thing has not changed: Indians are still the most sentimental about their traditional religious festivities. Diwali, Dussehra, Eid and other festivals are the occasions where Indians tend to splurge the most, says a new study across 12 Indian cities by a market research agency.

Another surprise: while fancy malls have sprung up in all major cities and exclusive stores by big brands – many of them global – dot the neon-lit main streets, the average Indian still does most of the big shopping in the festive season at the local shopping centre.

The study by Market Xcel could be yet another proof that that more things change in India, the more they remain the same.

Malls and organised retail outlets come behind local shopping centres and streets.

“Traditional formats provide the ease of shopping as most Indian consumers still associate to what in marketing terms is known as an ‘Underdeveloped Brand Preference,” said Vishal Oberoi, Market Xcel Data Matrix’s CEO.

“Consumers have this perception of shopping in malls being more expensive than their local markets,” he told Hindustan Times.

Convenience, personal association with the shopkeeper and the great luxury of home delivery – a factor in which India scores over the West – are among key factors driving local shopping.

“It is basically the product offering that drives a shoppers’ decision. For companies modern retail help give a better volume but the reach with traditional formats is definitely much higher,” said Saloni Nangia, vice-president at retail consulting firm Technopak.

Organized retailers on the backfoot with respect to local stores rely on discount to lure customers.

“The Loot as a brand is on discount 365 days of the year and we offer a discount range of minimum 25 per cent and it goes up to 60 per cent around festivals. During festive seasons we see a major rise in footfalls and a growth of 400 per cent,” said Jay Gupta, managing director of the discount chain, The Loot.

Devendra Chawla, head of private brands at the Future Group that runs the Big Bazaar chain, said the chain’s promotions around the Republic Day and Independence Day also do very well. Possibly because people have the time to shop – which could be something beyond religious sentiments as Indians turn busier in their work-places.